Karnataka Assembly elections: Polling begins

In what is projected as a tight race, voting is being held in a three-cornered contest among the ruling Congress, the BJP and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda's JD(S)

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Bengaluru: Polling in 222 of the total 224 assembly constituencies in Karnataka began at 7 AM today under a thick security blanket amid reports of rains and cloudy weather. Long queues were seen at several polling stations across the State even before polling began.

In Bengaluru, the cloudy morning seemed to have enthused voters while morning rain seemed to be playing spoilsport in other parts of the State.

In what is projected as a tight race, voting is being held in a three-cornered contest among the ruling Congress, the BJP and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s JD(S).

The Election Commission yesterday deferred the polls for the Rajarajeswari Nagar constituency to 28 May after a controversy over a large number of voter ID cards being found in an apartment.

Election for the Jayanagara seat in Bengaluru was countermanded following the death of BJP candidate and sitting MLA BN Vijaykumar.

Over 2,600 candidates are in the fray– more than 2400 men and and over 200 women.

The total voters including service electors according to the 2018 final rolls are 5,06,90,538, of whom 2,56,75,579 male voters, 2,50,09,904 female and 5,055 transgender voters.

Officials said 58,008 polling stations have been set up across the state, of which 12002 have been designated as “critical”, with over 3,50,000 polling personnel on duty.

Police have made elaborate security arrangements for the smooth conduct of polls that will go on until 6 PM. Counting of votes will take place on 15 May.

The current polls are seen as one of the most intriguing, the State had ever witnessed with many complexities that have left most analysts to bet on a fractured mandate in a cliffhanger.

One among the interesting aspects of this election is four candidates who have served as chief minister of Karnataka are in the fray — current incumbent Siddaramaiah (Chamundeshwari and Badami), BS Yeddyurappa (Shikaripura), HD Kumaraswamy (Chennapatna and Ramanagara) and Jagadish Shettar (Hubli-Dharwad Central.)